Federal Budget

Can Federal Spending Be Cut?

Featured image Federal revenues are booming, yet deficits are rising again because spending is booming even more. President Trump, unhappy about growing deficits, says he will ask all cabinet officers to find five percent in spending cuts for next year. Sounds like a good proposal, but the linked USA Today story is devoted entirely to ridiculing it. You can’t cut federal spending, the reporters say: Congress spends money, not the president (true); »

Trump Tax Cuts Mostly Pay For Themselves

Featured image Investors Business Daily has an excellent editorial on the macroeconomic effects of the recently-enacted tax reform bill. It highlights, once again, the peril of uncritically parroting top-line Congressional Budget Office analyses: When the Congressional Budget Office released its updated budget forecast, everyone focused on the deficit number. But buried in the report was the CBO’s tacit admission that it vastly overestimated the cost of the Trump tax cuts, because it »

Trump Fought the Swamp, and the Swamp Won [with comment by Paul]

Featured image If you are of a certain age, you may remember a song by the Bobby Fuller Four called “I Fought the Law.” It was not one of the top cultural milestones of the 1960s, but it was catchy. The refrain went, “I fought the law, and the law won.” That refrain has been going through my head, in a different form, ever since President Trump signed the omnibus spending bill »

You Can Vote For Conservatism, But You Can’t Get It

Featured image I first made that observation–you can vote for conservatism, but you can’t get it–quite a few years ago. Sadly, it remains true, as exemplified by the $1.3 trillion spending monstrosity that President Trump signed today. How bad is the bill? Rand Paul tweeted in real time as he read the bill–or as much of it as he could read through in the hours available. He produced a number of tweets, »

Trump should veto the omnibus, but not for the reasons he cites [UPDATE, he signed it]

Featured image After signaling to Congress that he supports the omnibus spending bill it was about to pass, President Trump is now threatening to veto the bill. He complains that it does nothing for the DACA population and virtually nothing to build his wall. In my view, these are not good reasons to veto the omnibus. Doing something for the DACA population should not be a priority, and certainly not to the »

The President Responds to “Crazy Joe Biden” In Kind

Featured image I wrote last night about Joe Biden’s crazed sort-of-threats against President Trump. Early this morning, President Trump replied in kind, on Twitter. Read it and marvel: Crazy Joe Biden is trying to act like a tough guy. Actually, he is weak, both mentally and physically, and yet he threatens me, for the second time, with physical assault. He doesn’t know me, but he would go down fast and hard, crying »

Congress approves spending bill

Featured image This morning at around 5:30 a.m., the House approved a budget deal that will add hundreds of billions of dollars in federal spending, not just for the military but also for domestic programs. The vote was 240-186. The Senate had already passed the deal by a vote of 71-28 (John McCain did not vote). In both chambers, the dissenters were a mix of hard core leftists who objected to not »

Another problem with the spending deal

Featured image The editors of National Review point to a problem with the spending deal that I hadn’t considered: it may end the chance for a conservative legislative achievement in 2018. Here’s why: A two-year spending deal means Republicans probably won’t go to the trouble of passing a formal budget for 2019. That would mean no chance for a so-called reconciliation process that could allow them to enact meaningful legislation with only »

McConnell puts big government freight train back on track

Featured image Skepticism is always in order on the substance of any agreement between Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats, especially if the subject is spending. When it comes to the spending deal Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer reached, skepticism should probably give way to alarm. The deal raises spending caps on discretionary spending by nearly $300 billion over two years. According to Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste, this means »

Democrats vote to shut government down

Featured image Tonight, the Senate failed to approve a funding bill that would have kept the government fully open and operating for the time being. Nearly every Republican Senator voted for the bill. The only exceptions were two pro-amnesty Senators — Lindsey Graham and Jeff Flake — and two anti-spending hardliners — Rand Paul and Mike Lee. Nearly every Democratic Senator voted against the bill. The only exceptions were five Red State »

A Primer on the “Government Shutdown”

Featured image It seems Senate Democrats are determined to have a government shutdown probably because of the default requirement of the Democratic base of “total resistance” to Trump. They are attaching the demand that DACA be “fixed” as a condition to funding the federal government (as OMB director Nick Mulvaney pointed out this morning, Democrats do not oppose any of the funding specifics of the continuing resolution), because they know that if »

The “Government Shutdown” Fraud

Featured image The press is starting to beat the usual drums about the horror of a possible “government shutdown” Friday night if Congress can’t pass a budget or a stopgap spending bill. This does seems slightly unusual in that Republicans control both Congress and the executive branch, so what is there to fight about, unlike previous showdowns that pitted a Republican Congress against a Democratic president. I guess the Senate needs some »

Taxing Times, and That Ol’-Timey Liberal Religion

Featured image I was on the road all this past week with a hectic itinerary on both coasts, so I wasn’t paying especially close attention to the news. Did I miss anything? Ah yes—I see Democrats are in a rage that Republicans have taken Nancy Pelosi’s advice to pass a bill to find out what is in it with the tax reform bill. They’re acting as though Republicans, in wheeling and dealing »

Monkey business at the CBO?

Featured image The mainstream media almost never mentions the Congressional Budget Office without adding the adjective “non-partisan.” But the CBO is staffed by folks who, in real life, are probably partisan. And given the pool from which its staff is drawn, most very likely are partisan Democrats. Are its findings infected by partisan bias? I don’t know. But something funny is going on with the CBO’s assessment of the impact of repealing »

The Case for Spending Caps

Featured image The Budget Control Act of 2011 resolved the purported “debt ceiling crisis” of that year, when it was widely (but falsely) alleged that the U.S. would go into default if the debt ceiling were not increased. Hardly anyone liked the sequestration that resulted from that budget compromise, but I did. It was the only effective check on federal spending in my lifetime. This video by the Center for Freedom and »

Washington Post makes wild claim about Trump’s budget

Featured image “President’s plan could stretch nation’s income inequality to ‘extreme’ levels.” That’s the headline in the paper edition of the Washington Post of an article about President Trump’s proposed budget. Can a budget that cuts taxes and makes appreciable but relatively minor cuts in spending on giveaway programs really “stretch [the] nation’s inequality to ‘extreme’ levels”? I doubt it, and nothing in the Post’s story supports such a claim. To assess »

Trump’s Budget Assumes Reasonable GDP Growth, Liberals Go Ballistic

Featured image President Trump’s first proposed budget was released today, to howls of outrage from the left. The New York Times issued an email breaking news alert: The Times’s claim that Trump’s budget assumes “improbable economic growth” was mild compared to the reaction from most of the liberal commentariat. Slate, for example, initially headlined “The Trump budget forecasts 3 percent growth for 10 years, is insane,” but then backed off to “Trump’s »